Are you feeding your soul?

The Saturday before Easter, the Nebraska Chealey’s arrived in Florida to spend time with my husband’s side of our family. It was the first time Grandpa Chealey got to meet his great grandblessings and was our first holiday together in the 24 years Gene and I have been a couple. 



Everything down South is different from the Midwest…the weather, food and even church. A good different.

Easter Sunday we attended Gene’s childhood church. The praise and worship were beautiful and the pastor passionately shouted his message to encouragement from the organist and the drummer–our nephew. He received random shouts of AMEN and HALLELUJAH throughout his sermon from his congregation. 


Everyone stood during the reading of God’s Word. Except the pew of Nebraska folks. image

Gene stood, but forgot to tell us to remain standing. After the reading, the pastor gently explained to the visitors without addressing us directly how it is a sign of reverence to the Lord to stand. I like that.

Hats. Did I mention them yet? There were lots of view-blocking, pretty hats perched on the heads of women who have known my husband since he was a little boy, excited to meet his family.


Then there was my handsome father-in-law decked out in his purple suit.

Proud to pause for a moment and pose with his granddaughter. image

Afterwards, we went to my sister-in-law, Dianne’s mothers home for lunch. A meal prepared by Dianne, her mom Mimi and her two sisters. So much food and the smell of deliciousness embraced you the moment you walked through the door. Homemade macaroni & cheese, ham, greens, yams, chicken wings, mashed potatoes and gravy, deviled eggs, black-eyed peas, cornbread, sweet potato pie…all made with love.

We shamelessly made our plates so full you could only see the rim.image

We sat around the dining room table and talked and laughed. My sister Michelle and I raved over everything and even went back for seconds. Mimi loved our reactions, smiled and asked,

Have you ever had soul food?

When she said it, she had love in her eyes. In her smile. Mimi not only provided a place that filled our stomachs, she provided a place that filled our souls. We left full. Full of memories and love and satisfied stomachs.

Later in the week, I was reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst and this part I read sitting poolside summed up our time spent in Florida…

“Connecting with those we love is like soul food.

Relationships nourish us in ways nothing else can.”

I left Florida Friday morning and flew to speak at the Winsome Women’s Retreat in Pennsylvania. Little did I know more soul food awaited me. Not plates of food, but teaching and conversation by women I love and respect. I laughed, cried and did lots of hugging. It was good. It was nourishing.

My friend Deidra posted this picture of some us who were at Winsome and she wrote something so beautiful under the picture…


It’s community that saves you. Now, I don’t mean community SAVES us. Jesus saved us. Saves us. But, while we journey through this life on this earth, God has given us each other. We weren’t meant to do life alone, y’all.

So, I ask you what Mimi asked us,

Have you ever had soul food?

Do you have friendships that feed your soul?

And I encourage you with Deidra’s words, 

Do you surround yourself with community that saves you?

This was more than a vacation to Disney and Daytona Beach and seeing family. This was a soul nourishing trip from day one. God knew exactly what was needed to fill my soul from my time in Orlando to the weekend in the mountains in Pennsylvania. He fed me the soul food I needed.

Oh, and this is what Mimi’s food does to me…I was knocked out while my family took pictures. A soul well fed, rests or rather passes out from all the goodness. 




This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Are you feeding your soul?

  1. Sita says:

    I am starving for ‘soul’ food in both realms. Perhaps soon. What a beautiful post. How blessed you are.

  2. Stephanie says:

    This is beautifully written by a beautiful woman of God! I’m so glad that you were fed and hugged. You do so much to bless other women.

Leave a Reply